Before Christmas when I hopped on to the laptop and logged on to my social media sites, my various news feeds were filled with the news from Ferguson. First of all, I will admit, being in Northern Ireland, I don’t really keep up to date with American news like this. I knew a little bit about it, a teenager was shot by a cop. That was it. It wasn’t until the verdict was announced and the riots started that I became fully aware of the situation, or as informed as you can be with digging through Facebook, Twitter and the various news sites. All the information which I had access to had been regurgitated repeatedly, the information was in the form of twisted opinion and hearsay of what happened, there was very little in the way of facts. But a few things became to light. An 18 year old boy who was unarmed was shot 6 times by a police officer and his dead body was left in the street for hours. That is beyond scary.
First of all, everyone online had an opinion, an ill informed opinion. My news feeds were filled with anger and rage despite people not having the full facts of what happened. We will never know exactly what happened and we will never have all the facts. Was there any footage of the incident? Security cameras or mobile phone footage? Not that I’ve seen, so we will never know exactly what happened. To assume what happened was based on race or someones prejudice of another human is a dangerous game to play.
Second, the fact that race is even part of the conversation is scary. People, we live in the 21st century. Race, religion, gender, or sexual preference should not be an issue to society any more. Personally I couldn’t care if you are a gay purple man with boobs, if you are nice to me then I’ll be nice to you. I never judge a person in the first instance, I’ll get to know before I decide if you are an asshole or not. If these things are still issues in this day and age, then something needs to be done about it. And screaming about it on the internet is not helping matters. If this offends you then you need to educate yourself and those around you rather than getting all hot and bothered on the otherside of your computer screen.
I’m no expert on this, not by a long shot but I do know this, if you can’t trust your police force then it needs to be changed. Police and civilians need to have the protection of the law. Police should wear body cameras so that things like this can’t happen. Video evidence is the only answer if a white cop has race issues and hides behind his badge and gun to dish out his own version of justice. And guns are never the answer. There are so many other ways, non-lethal ways for crowd control and to take a suspect into custody, guns are not necessary anymore. But tonight, just think of Michael Brown and hope that something positive can come of this. Lets challenge that race card, ask more from the police, and hope that some day news like this will be a distance memory but the victims are never forgotten.